A “target pool” of nearly 300 athletes who may have committed doping offences has been identified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) after a visit to a Moscow lab revealed samples containing strong evidence of banned substances.
The lab provided a total of 2,262 samples obtained between January and April this year, with 578 of them belonging to 298 “suspicious” athletes.
Investigations into the “pool of athletes have now begun, with WADA director Gunter Younger claiming to be “another step closer to bringing to justice those who cheated.”
So far, 150 samples from 43 of the targeted athletes have been reviewed and sent to their appropriate international federations, but Younger says “there is still a lot of work left.”
WADA aim to have all suspicious cases analysed by the end of the year. They have promised to provide assistance to federations where athletes are found to have been doping, although failure to act could result in WADA taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The agency visited the Moscow lab as a condition of Russia’s drug-testing body’s reinstatement last September following a ban for state-sponsored doping.
Despite this, a ban remains on athletes competing under a Russian banner, with those cleared to participate in track and field doing so as Authorised Neutral Athletes (ANA).